CHICAGO, Jan. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Forty-nine percent of employers said they have an above average understanding of specialty pharmacy according to the latest survey from the non-profit Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH), one of the nation's leading business groups of employers. This is a significant increase over a similar 2011 survey where 78 percent claimed to have a low to moderate understanding of this challenging benefit.
"With costs estimated to make up 40 percent of an employer's total pharmacy spend by 2020, it's essential that they focus their attention on managing this benefit – doing nothing is no longer an option," said Cheryl Larson , MBGH vice president. "Since employers primarily fund health care benefits for employees, their understanding of specialty drugs and related costs will be a key factor in resolving current challenges."
The employer-driven survey was conducted by MBGH, with guidance from Randy Vogenberg , PhD, principal at the Institute for Integrated Healthcare. The objectives were to identify and assess the level of knowledge and benefit design gaps of employers in the area of specialty pharmacy drugs and biologic products used to treat conditions such as multiple sclerosis and arthritis. These drugs present significant cost challenges to employers, as well as logistical issues for patients, physicians, pharmacies and manufacturers, as these drugs often require special approvals for their use, instructions on dosing and side effects, and appropriate storage and distribution.
Approximately 70 employers responded to the online survey. The top industries represented were manufacturing (34 percent), government (16 percent) and education (13 percent); 87 percent were self-insured and 13 percent fully-insured. Thirty-two percent have an active population of 1,001-5,000, while 26 percent represent 5,001-15,000.
MBGH has developed an online toolkit to support employers in better understanding and managing specialty pharmacy benefits. The first section, Specialty Pharmacy 101, was launched this week and covers specific trends, employer impacts and recommendations in three key areas: understanding the basics, the economics of specialty pharmacy, and evolving strategies in benefit plan design. Future sections address key challenges, identify innovative approaches to benefit plan design and service partner contracting, and support at-risk populations through communications and resources.
About the Midwest Business Group on Health
With more than 120 member organizations, the Midwest Business Group on Health is one of the nation's leading non-profit business groups of large, self-insured public and private employers serving as a catalyst for community initiatives to improve the quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of the health care delivery system. MBGH is an essential resource to support employers in effectively managing their health benefits through high-quality education, research, networking and benchmarking. MBGH is a founding member of the National Business Coalition on Health. www.mbgh.org
|SOURCE Midwest Business Group on Health|
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